TROUP COUNTY, Ga. — The Troup County Jail is isolating its inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19.
The Troup County Sheriff's Office said they did a mass screening of the inmate population and detention center staff on June 19, and those findings were released on Tuesday.
Out of the 316 inmates who were tested, the sheriff's office said they have 71 positive cases and 242 negative cases. Three cases are still pending.
There were 48 staff members who were tested for the virus, but only two of them have confirmed positive cases. The rest came back with negative results, except for one, which will be retested due to the fact that it was inconclusive.
"Inmates which have tested positive will be isolated from those who have tested negative. Those that refused the test will be isolated as well," the sheriff's office said in a news release. "Inmates that were tested prior to the 19th which was a total of 57, were not re-tested and as of the 19th, we had 25 inmates in custody which had tested positive."
Officials said at the time of the testing, the jail population had 394 inmates.
As for the employees who have the virus, the sheriff's office said they are following guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before they can return to work.
The jail put measures in place back in April in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus and said they have implemented more protocols since, such as:
- Screening incoming inmates, which include temperature checks
- Employee self-checks prior to reporting to work
- Routine cleaning and sanitizing of inmate housing, booking and medical areas, along with common areas of the sheriff’s office
- Sanitizing of incoming officers and inmates
- Decontamination of vehicles used to transport inmates
- Mask requirements in certain areas of the jail. Masks are distributed to the inmate population, should they choose to wear one
The Troup County Board of Commissioners’ Office, the Troup County Sheriff’s Office, and District 4 Public Health held a joint news conference Wednesday morning to discuss the COVID-19 cases at the jail.
During the briefing, they described the further steps they would take, including the plan to isolate the infected inmates in separate parts of the main facility and another annex on the property. But Sheriff James Woodruff said they're being thoughtful and deliberate on how they go about enacting their plan.
"There's two things we've got to do," Woodruff said. "We've got to get them away from the general population, but we also have to be mindful of their charges. We can't put people that are dangerous with a young kid whose in there for driving on a suspended license."
The sheriff's office also announced that an expert from Emory who specializes in correctional facilities will do a walk-through of the jail and give recommendations on how best to handle the outbreak.
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